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Descartes's FictionsReading Philosophy with Poetics$
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Emma Gilby

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831891

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831891.001.0001

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Providence and the Passions

Providence and the Passions

(p.169) 9 Providence and the Passions
Descartes's Fictions

Emma Gilby

Oxford University Press

Increasingly, Descartes returns to more practical questions about forms of attentiveness, premeditation, and industry. In his correspondence with the Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, in the 1647 Letter-preface to the French edition of the Principles of Philosophy, dedicated to Elisabeth, and finally in the Passions de l’âme of 1649, which he had commenced in 1646, Descartes develops his interest in the lived benefits that our philosophy may bring us. Descartes’s later work consistently uses the language of theatre to add an affective dimension to his discussion of the gulf between the human and the ungraspably divine. His use of the extended analogy of God as sovereign finds key expression in the correspondence with Elisabeth, with the renowned example of a king and two duelling gentlemen. This example is also considered for its dramatic resonance.

Keywords:   Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, God as sovereign, fortune, providence, duelling

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